The Lepers Who Let Us Embrace Them. (Poetry).
The Lepers Who Let Us Embrace Them
Youthful, healthy, oozing joy,
Francis gets the credit.
Yet what of one who watched
him coming, dreading charity?
The first numbness in his hand
had been the signal; then the
flaking skin; now the stink of
decay: a body rotting from within.
It was enough: watching fingers,
toes, limbs left behind like careless
trash. He did not need the wealthy
boy, did not want to be a symbol.
Which one is named saint? One rose
beyond hostility and shame to grace.
Centuries owe the leper thanks; he,
compassionate, accepted Francis' kiss.